V&E, Bland Honored at 2019 Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards
& Elkins and appellate partner Jane Bland received top honors at
the 11th Annual Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards.
the fourth time, V&E was named the Harris County
Bench Bar Pro Bono Award recipient in the large firm category, while Bland
received the President’s Award, in recognition of her efforts to
promote equal access to justice.
firm and Bland received the awards at a ceremony hosted by the Houston Bar
Association (HBA) at the Harris County Civil Courthouse on May 8.
year’s Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards recognize law firms,
corporations and individual attorneys who made outstanding contributions to pro
bono legal services in 2018. The Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Awards
program was established to recognize outstanding pro bono service through local
legal service providers and to encourage the provision of direct legal services
to low-income Harris County residents. Each year a committee of judges and
attorneys select the recipients in various categories.
year, lawyers in V&E’s Houston office donated more than 11,000 hours to pro
bono matters, which ranged from immigration, family law and litigation to
intellectual property and criminal defense cases. V&E attorneys also
actively contributed to the firm’s Veteran’s Initiative, Guardianship Project
and Virtual Legal Clinic pro bono programs.
was previously honored with a Harris County Bench Bar Pro Bono Award in the
large firm category in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
who joined V&E earlier this year following a 15-year career as a justice of
the Texas First Court of Appeals, is the current chair-elect of Houston
Volunteer Lawyers (HVL), the pro bono legal aid arm of the HBA. She has served
on the organization’s board since 2009 and previously served as treasurer and
chair of HVL’s personnel and planning committees.
taking the bench, Bland was an active volunteer with HVL, handling trial and
appellate pro bono cases. She also chaired the HBA’s Campaign for the Homeless
and the Eikenburg Law Week Run, among other committees.
a member of the Texas Supreme Court’s Commission to Expand Civil Legal Services
and its Rules Advisory Committee, Bland and her colleagues have led efforts to
streamline the process for establishing indigency in Harris County, to update
rules for limited scope representation and proof of inability to pay court
costs and to promote pro bono volunteerism among lawyers and the availability
of legal services to those in need.